paper straws

Anti-plastic paper straw factory to open in Wales; McDonalds signs deal for all UK restaurants

Image credit: Dreamstime

The UK’s first paper straw factory in decades is set to open this summer, following consumer campaigns to ban plastic straws as part of wider concerns over the impact of single-use plastics on the environment.

Factory owner Transcend Packaging was set up only seven months ago and is headquartered in South Wales.

Following confirmation that McDonalds has contracted them to supply its UK and Ireland restaurants with paper straws, the company is planning to double its workforce from the 20 people it currently employs.

McDonald’s paper straw roll-out is beginning in September this year and completing in 2019, while Transcend will make its straws using paper originating from “certified” sources.

Other large firms such as pub chain Wetherspoon’s have already made the transition from plastic straws.

A number of consumer campaigns including Straw Wars, The Last Straw and No Straw Please have been gaining momentum in recent months.

Their visibility was raised following the broadcast of the David Attenborough-led BBC natural world TV show ‘Blue Planet II’, which showed some of the devastation that single-use plastics can wreak on marine environments.

“We greatly appreciate the support and encouragement of the Welsh Government and we look forward to providing world-class packaging solutions and further jobs in Wales for many years to come,” said Lorenzo Angelucci, Transcend Packaging managing director.

“I am delighted that McDonald’s has taken this visionary step towards reducing the environmental impact of the food industry. Spurred on by Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ series, we hope that Transcend’s new range of environmentally friendly products will be part of the solution for a greener world.”

The company, which also produces paper-based folding cartons, has already received support from the Welsh Government.

While paper straws are more expense than plastic, the difference in cost is minimal, especially considering the benefits brought by improved public perception of companies trying to make changes for positive environmental reasons.

Plastic straws cost around 10p per thousand, compared to 14-15p for paper alternatives.

Meanwhile, at least 25 per cent of the plastics used in new Volvo car models from 2025 will be from recycled materials, the company announced today. Recycled plastics, such as those from fishing nets or old bottles, will be used without affecting safety or quality, Volvo said.

Volvo sold 570,000 cars last year, with about five per cent of plastics in its cars currently made from recycled materials.

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